Why Track will be back – Fred Wilson says so

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For those of you new to the Web since the end of May, you can be forgiven for having no clue about why Track is the shit. Despite months of denial, an open source clone war, a VC-backed API counter offensive, and unknown secret plans to force Twitter into a business model, Twitter still has not returned Track to service.

As a consequence, no one really knows what the world would be like if Track had persisted through the summer and fall. Perhaps Obama would have failed to stop Hillary’s comeback, Hillary would have lost to McCain, and VP-elect Romney would be just a heartbeat from the Residency. Or maybe the economic meltdown would have been stopped by an alert network of Track-enabled researchers bent on cracking the mysteries of derivatives. We’ll never know.

In Paris last week, I spent a few minutes with VC Fred Wilson in the LeWeb speaker room, huddled over a heater next to the bread and water tray. No, that’s not true; there was no bread, and the heater was actually Gabe Rivera’s new MacBook, busy serving up the only outbound connection to the rest of the known world. But Fred, a prominent Twitter investor and a visible Net citizen who actually responds to Tweets about sensitive questions like “Is Track coming back?”, told me Track is definitely coming back.

I can’t quote him verbatim (fingers too numb and light headed from lack of food and wifi) but the gist of what he said was this:

    Track is working internally at Twitter.
    The Summize engineers are working to perfect Track.
    When it’s perfect they will ship it.

Fred has been consistent about this from the beginning. He is one of those who discovered Track pre-May and loved it, and now is eager for it to return. I didn’t have a chance to grill him further because he had to join a meeting of European startups for a two hour lunch, but I wouldn’t be surprised that since he said Track is up and running inside Twitter that for him it already is back.

Fred has solved his Track problem by owning a chunk of the company, but since Twitter is private we don’t have that option (or the money either.) So I’ve been doing some thinking – made possible by the lack of interruptions from a working Track – about how to accelerate the return of Track to our realtime arsenal. In Letterman order, here are the Top Ten ideas:

    10. Begin Track filibuster in FriendFeed to disrupt realtime feeds.
    9. Convince Obama to elevate Track to Cabinet level appointment.
    8. Nominate Bob Dylan as Secretary of (Blood on the) Track(s).
    7. Alternatively, invade Twitter and install Track-friendly government.
    6. Convince Microsoft to divert 5-10% of total operating income from search to Track R&D.
    5. Forget about it and go have two hour lunch.
    4. Placeholder for some idea would have had if Track were working.
    3. Shouldn’t the ideas get better closer to the bottom?
    2. Build Track into Gears, and therefore Chrome.
    1. Wait
  • http://secondthoughts.typepad.com Prokofy Neva

    Here you want Track to come back, only to block Track for people who read and respond to you criticially. And that’s wrong, and it skews the news.

  • http://secondthoughts.typepad.com Prokofy Neva

    Here you want Track to come back, only to block Track for people who read and respond to you criticially. And that’s wrong, and it skews the news.

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures Michael Krigsman

    Regarding your top-ten list: a defined percentage of your suggestions is actually practical and completely workable.

    That’s better than most suggestion lists I see. Good show :)

  • http://blogs.zdnet.com/projectfailures Michael Krigsman

    Regarding your top-ten list: a defined percentage of your suggestions is actually practical and completely workable.

    That’s better than most suggestion lists I see. Good show :)

  • Dan

    I seriously think it may take #7 to get it done. At least Fred is in a position to make that happen.

    P.S. Prokofy please go away. kthxby.

  • Dan

    I seriously think it may take #7 to get it done. At least Fred is in a position to make that happen.

    P.S. Prokofy please go away. kthxby.

  • http://friendfeed.com/e/93abe5b0-8521-447b-b90f-060bdb300318/one-of-our-developers-have-a-fear-disli Oh the Hugh Manatee

    I want some of what you’ve been drinking.

    Hugs, Herve Villacheese

  • http://friendfeed.com/e/93abe5b0-8521-447b-b90f-060bdb300318/one-of-our-developers-have-a-fear-disli Oh the Hugh Manatee

    I want some of what you’ve been drinking.

    Hugs, Herve Villacheese

  • http://briantroy.com/blog/2008/12/17/track-coming-back-justsignal-re-launch-update/ Track coming back? JustSignal re-launch update. | Brian Roy’s Blog

    […] Blog – 12-17-2008 | Track News and JustSignal Re-Launch from Brian Roy on Vimeo. Link to Steve Gillmor’s post on Twitter Track By the way… however Vimeo selects the static frame that shows before you press play… It […]

  • http://briantroy.com/blog/2008/12/17/track-coming-back-justsignal-re-launch-update/ Track coming back? JustSignal re-launch update. | Brian Roy’s Blog

    […] Blog – 12-17-2008 | Track News and JustSignal Re-Launch from Brian Roy on Vimeo. Link to Steve Gillmor’s post on Twitter Track By the way… however Vimeo selects the static frame that shows before you press play… It […]

  • http://bittermancircle.com Aronski

    #7a: Install track on our shoes and throw them at Biz and Ev; repeat.

  • http://bittermancircle.com Aronski

    #7a: Install track on our shoes and throw them at Biz and Ev; repeat.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    Great top 10 list! Better news to hear track will be back.

  • http://www.drumsnwhistles.com/ Karoli

    Great top 10 list! Better news to hear track will be back.

  • SRSLY LAME

    Track is working internally =

    “works with 10 users each tracking 5 things. But it doesn’t scale. ”

    When it’s perfect they will ship it. =

    “When it halfway works and doesn’t crash they will ship it. But we need to redesign the whole thing first. ”

    WTF do ev and biz DO? They don’t do “business”, the don’t code, they don’t attract good developers. Are they really just drinking out of that cuppa joe all day?

  • SRSLY LAME

    Track is working internally =

    “works with 10 users each tracking 5 things. But it doesn’t scale. ”

    When it’s perfect they will ship it. =

    “When it halfway works and doesn’t crash they will ship it. But we need to redesign the whole thing first. ”

    WTF do ev and biz DO? They don’t do “business”, the don’t code, they don’t attract good developers. Are they really just drinking out of that cuppa joe all day?

  • http://www.mbleigh.com/ Michael Bleigh

    Just use TwitterSpy, it performs all the same magic as track. Most of the time I get the IMs about 20 seconds after I would get them realtime.

    If you aren’t using TwitterSpy you must not miss track enough. :)

  • http://www.mbleigh.com/ Michael Bleigh

    Just use TwitterSpy, it performs all the same magic as track. Most of the time I get the IMs about 20 seconds after I would get them realtime.

    If you aren’t using TwitterSpy you must not miss track enough. :)

  • http://bittermancircle.com Aronski

    #2 again is sounding better, my comments from earlier this year about Google cutting out the middle man. Jaiku has not been the spartan experience that Twitter is but for those of us who shifted over to using Twitter from IM with real time and track through gTalk, it seemed a no brainer. This announcement about Twitter & Google’s Friend Connect feels like a way to get the Twitter list into the Google cloud, the assimilation one step closer. For those of us who have been piece-mealing our microblogging experience together with IM, various services and spies, The idea of having our Twitter list (or better yet THE Twitter list) plugged into the Google cloud could mean that moving from one feature-free service to another that has given us what we need could either put the fire to the feet of the Twits or make them merely another set of people with a fine idea that someone else had to figure out how to execute in the end.

    • http://blog.stealthmode.com francine hardaway

      That’s right! Twitter list in the Google cloud! That’s either awesome or a horrendous invasion of privacy:-) Keep taking those drugs.

  • http://bittermancircle.com Aronski

    #2 again is sounding better, my comments from earlier this year about Google cutting out the middle man. Jaiku has not been the spartan experience that Twitter is but for those of us who shifted over to using Twitter from IM with real time and track through gTalk, it seemed a no brainer. This announcement about Twitter & Google’s Friend Connect feels like a way to get the Twitter list into the Google cloud, the assimilation one step closer. For those of us who have been piece-mealing our microblogging experience together with IM, various services and spies, The idea of having our Twitter list (or better yet THE Twitter list) plugged into the Google cloud could mean that moving from one feature-free service to another that has given us what we need could either put the fire to the feet of the Twits or make them merely another set of people with a fine idea that someone else had to figure out how to execute in the end.

    • http://blog.stealthmode.com francine hardaway

      That’s right! Twitter list in the Google cloud! That’s either awesome or a horrendous invasion of privacy:-) Keep taking those drugs.

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/18/backtype-launches-google-alerts-for-blog-comments/ BackType Launches Google Alerts For Blog Comments

    […] should give those of you anxiously awaiting the return of Twitter Track, which does the same thing for Twitter messages, something to play with in the meantime. […]

  • http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/12/18/backtype-launches-google-alerts-for-blog-comments/ BackType Launches Google Alerts For Blog Comments

    […] should give those of you anxiously awaiting the return of Twitter Track, which does the same thing for Twitter messages, something to play with in the meantime. […]

  • http://trendsupdates.com/backtype-a-boon-for-bloggers/ BackType - A Boon For Bloggers | Trends Updates

    […] delivered to you daily, weekly or even as soon as a alert happens. This would work better than the Twitter Track or the Google Alerts and is a blessing to those who have their blogs and would like to know what is […]

  • http://trendsupdates.com/backtype-a-boon-for-bloggers/ BackType - A Boon For Bloggers | Trends Updates

    […] delivered to you daily, weekly or even as soon as a alert happens. This would work better than the Twitter Track or the Google Alerts and is a blessing to those who have their blogs and would like to know what is […]

  • http://blog.stealthmode.com francine hardaway

    Wow, that trip to Paris did you a *world* of good! You have come back feistier and funnier than ever, and with good information, too.

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